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Old 24-04-2011, 09:32   #1
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Chain Stopper

Hi All:

I recently was having a nice conversation with a 70+ year old gentlemen and he was sharing with me some of his tricks. One thst really caught my attention was his chain stopper. I had spent $50 on the stopper and then had to have four bolts specially made because my deck at the location where I want to place the stopper is 10" thick and i couldn't find any 3/8" by 12" SS bolts. Well anyway it is on my list of things to do and is coming up soon.

In the mean time my friend told me what he does. First he attaches a snubber after which he takes 5/8" or 3/4" three strand and splices a big loop in it that will fit over his windlass. On the other end of the line he splices in a thimble. He then attaches a shackle to the chain and to the thimbled loop. He then places the big loop over the windlass and lets out enough chain so that the big loop would take the strain of the chain should the snubber break.

In my eyes it is working as a chain stopper fine. The load of the chain is taken up by the entire windlass rather then the shaft of the windlass -- At least on a horizontal windlass. Not so sure it works as well on a vertical windlass. Any critiques of this idea?

Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 24-04-2011, 09:43   #2
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Re: Chain Stopper

I do not like the idea of the anchor's pull being taken up on any part of the windlass. The pull should be taken to a bollard or a chain hook attached to a stoutly backed cleat of sufficient size. The bridle/snubbers are there to distribute the load to two points on deck, and to lower the attachment point closer to the waterline.

In my view, the chain on the windlass should be slack. Its purpose is to retrieve or lower slack rode, not to transfer the energy of a bucking chain attached to a properly set anchor to the boat.

In an emergency, like your bow cleats being torn out or when needing a rough conditions tow, people have run lines or rodes back to the mast base, but again, that's a bit last ditch effort.

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Old 24-04-2011, 09:53   #3
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Re: Chain Stopper

Have to go with Alchemy. A windlass is generally not designed, built or installed to take the large loads, especially shock loads from the anchor rodes. The idea in general is good but drop that loop over something besides the windlass.

Unless you have a really, really big boat I would also go with much smaller line. 3/4" will not stretch very much so will not absorb the shock loads. Smaller line will do that better, probably handle any normal load and, if it does break or chaff through, the rode will be locked in to catch the boat until you can get up to rig a new snubber.

Another alternative, just use a short piece of 1/2" and tie it into the anchor rode with a Prussic knot.
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Old 24-04-2011, 10:00   #4
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Re: Chain Stopper

A chain stopper is really to take the load off the windlass as you are retrieving chain. It is a one-way device: pulling in it lets the chain slide through, but if you let off on the tension it grabs the chain and won't let it go running out. If the desire is to hold the anchor in place on a roller than I think the trick described works fine for taking the load off the windlass. There really won't be much tension on the base of the windlass just holding the anchor in place. However, when at anchor a better thing to do is to have a long nylon snubber that you either tie to the anchor chain or attach with a chain hook so that you put a bit of spring into the system while at the same time taking the load off the windlass. The snubber line is cleated off on a deck cleat.
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Old 24-04-2011, 10:29   #5
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Re: Chain Stopper

i figure 8 my chain around both my windlasses onmy 3 1/2 inch thick deck-- works well in rough conditions.... i havent rope rode--only chain---had no problems, so far...and my bronze antique windlass is sooo awesome!!!!!!
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Old 24-04-2011, 10:44   #6
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Re: Chain Stopper

"i couldn't find any 3/8" by 12" SS bolts. Well anyway it is on my list of things to do and is coming up soon."

What about using all thread? I used 1/2" 316l all thread for my windlass.
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Old 24-04-2011, 11:00   #7
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Re: Chain Stopper

Just curious, whats that 10" deck thickness consist of? If that is not a solid assembly, but is some softer core, I would be concerned about shear loads at deck level. As I said, just curious.

so many projects--so little time !!
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